1938 Bugatti Type 57 Aravis Drophead by Albert d'IeterenSOLD
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Engine Type: 3.3 liter Inline-8
Engine Number:464
Color:Two-tone Black with Burgundy Accents / Brown Ostrich Interior

Reference Number 60725

as of 12/4/2009

Overview
Car 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Aravis Drophead by Albert d'Ieteren
VIN 57589 
Mileage 77,870 miles 
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Known History

 

1938 Bugatti Type 57 Aravis Drophead by Albert d'Ieteren

s/n 57589 engine no. 464

Two-tone Black with Burgundy Accents and Brown Ostrich Interior

 

Bugatti’s greatest commercial success, the Type 57 was innovative, beautifully engineered and built, and extremely attractive. Powered by a 3.3 liter variant of Bugatti’s excellent dual overhead cam monoblock inline-8, the cars also had excellent performance, making them stylish and capable touring cars that incorporated advanced racing technology. The Type 57 was available in a variety of styles, ranging from the relatively pedestrian Galibier 4-door saloon to the rakish 2-place convertible, the Aravis. In addition to the standard bodies supplied by Bugatti, many examples received coachbuilt bodies by such famous names as Franay and Saoutchik.

 

This particular example is a one-off Aravis bodied by Albert d’Ieteren, and is one of just two Type 57’s bodied by Albert d’Ieteren. As a late production example, it has several mechanical updates, including stiffened chassis, rubber mounted motor (rather than solid), hydraulically actuated brakes and telescopic shock absorbers. It was delivered to Albert d’Ieteren in March of 1938, and using a Letourneur et Marchand Aravis (s/n 57826) as a basis for a their modeling study, d’Ieteren set about producing their own version, incorporating the suggestions and recommendations of the client, Monsieur Baggage, whose tall stature and carefully defined sense of what he wanted resulted in a unique and striking design. Following the collaboration of Monsieur Baggage and Albert d’Ieteran on the car’s design, Monsieur Baggage took delivery of the completed car in the Autumn of 1938. He used and enjoyed the car until World War II forced him to conceal it.

 

A Belgian Bugatti Specialist, DeDobeeller, acquired the car in the 1950’s, and subsequently sold it on to a fellow in the United State by the name of Julian Sano. In 1962, another American owner, Robert Wells, acquired the car, though he laid it up with a camshaft gear problem in the mid 1960’s. The car had covered just 72,000km from new, and was largely unmolested. The current owner acquired the car from Mr. Wells about ten years ago, and subsequently had a complete restoration effected by Bugatti specialist Jim Stranberg of Colorado. The restoration was completed in June of 2009, and the car has covered 300 miles since. The restoration included the renewal of all major cosmetic and mechanical components, including interior, paintwork, chrome, engine, suspension, and brakes. The car was shown in the special Bugatti class at Pebble Beach in August of 2009, and also participated in the Rolex Tour.

 

Consequently, the car is in outstanding condition. The paintwork, bodywork, and chrome are all excellent, with very few signs of wear or use. The only blemishes worth noting are in the region of the hood latches and a few small paint cracks in discreet places. The work was done to the highest standards, and the car’s detailing and styling are extremely impressive. The glass and lamps are in great shape as well, including the lovely Scintilla headlamps.

 

The interior is absolutely stunning, with ostrich skin upholstery throughout. The carpets are extremely high quality and fit superbly. The wood is excellent throughout, while the instruments and switches appear to be original and unrestored, and are excellent considering this. The car is uniquely fitted with a side-facing jump seat in the rear, also upholstered in ostrich skin, of course.

 

The engine compartment is tidy and extremely correct. It has not been over-restored but instead has a lovely honesty that is reflected by the correctness of the ancillaries, hardware, and other equipment, including generator, intake and exhaust equipment, and ignition equipment, including the twin ignition coils.

 

The trunk was also restored, and beautifully finished in chocolate colored wool carpets to match the interior. The spare is present and restored, as is a set of fitted luggage. The car also includes an original d’Ieteran photo album with numerous period photos of the car, as well as tools.

 

The car drives and operates superbly. The engine is well-tuned and tractable, and the gearbox is excellent. The chassis is stiff and the suspension works well, providing excellent roadholding. The brakes are absolutely superb, pulling the car up evenly and strongly. They represent a marked and welcome advance over the non-hydraulic brakes of early type 57’s, and the car’s all round performance is impressive.

 

This is a genuinely unique opportunity to acquire a stunning one-off coachbuilt two-seat open Bugatti Type 57. Its condition is outstanding, both mechanically and cosmetically, and the car has obviously benefitted from the expert work it received at the hands of Jim Stranberg. It has seen no cosmetic or mechanical modifications, and is complete with luggage, tools, and Albert d’Ieteran photo album. Thanks to the car’s excellent mechanical health, it is very usable as well, while its rarity and beauty ensure that this open car it is among the most desirable Type 57’s built.